Taylor Swift accepts the Milestone Award at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Arlington, Texas April 19, 2015.    REUTERS/Mike Blake

Taylor Swift accepts the Milestone Award at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Arlington, Texas April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) – Apple Inc will be offering users a three-month trial of its new service and had said it would not pay artists for the use of their music during that time. Apple has reversed its policy and said it would now pay labels artists during free trials of its new Apple Music streaming service, after pop star Taylor Swift said she would hold back her latest hit album “1989” from the service.

Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue announced the change of heart through Twitter. Continue Reading…

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In preparation for the new features of iOS9, specifically around keyboard shortcuts, I thought it was time to finally figure out a keyboard solution for my iPad. After some research, I narrowed it down to either the Logitech Keys-to-Go and the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard. Both keyboards are similar in terms of features and dedicated buttons for quickly accessing iPad functions. But in the end, I preferred one over the other.

If you value how the keyboard “feels” when typing, the Keys To Go (K2G) are more responsive compared to the Microsoft Universal Mobile and the soft material makes the keys nicer to the touch. The K2G is water resistant if you decide to spill that drink on it at the office desk or pot of pasta sauce at the kitchen. :-) Also, the K2G has a physical on/off switch which I prefer. You know that the keyboard is actually off. The MS Universal, you turn if off by putting on the top cover which is kinda cool, but there are times when you wonder whether it’s really turned off. Continue Reading…

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Update! Roku has asked TechCrunch to remove an inaccurate statement and tells us: “Roku does not collect data from a customer’s WiFi network nor collect data from any other devices on a customer’s WiFi network.” Move along on, folks! Original story follows:

Assuming neither TechCrunch nor Roku misspoke, our streaming boxes (and sticks) will soon begin snooping on us. As Roku looks to generate revenue beyond meager hardware margins, they’re getting serious with measurement and advertising. And I get the need to monetize. However, the incoming ad platform piloted on Crackle is all sorts of creepy:

These interactive ads can also be personalized using data like a user’s location, as well as by tracking information collected on devices running on a household’s Wi-Fi network using traditional means.

Geo-targeting is a generally accepted practice to fine-tune offers, but sniffing my network to see what other devices I might be running is well out of bounds. Further, what other data will be passed along? For example, as Roku ramps up their analytics business, how might folks linking a Plex library or having installed an “adult” channel feel?

If TC’s nugget holds true, Roku will clearly need to update their privacy policy. It was last revised in March, to accomodate Nuance’s voice search, but makes absolutely no mention of identifying my location or scanning my network — something I imagine privacy groups, the EFF, and others would want to be aware of.

A man looks at Sony and Panasonic TV sets at an electronics shop in Tokyo May 15, 2012. Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp are in talks to develop the technology to mass produce next-generation OLED televisions, sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, but may already be running to catch up with South Korean rivals in a technology widely seen replacing current LCD TVs.   REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon  (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR322QQ

A man looks at Sony and Panasonic TV sets at an electronics shop in Tokyo May 15, 2012. Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp are in talks to develop the technology to mass produce next-generation OLED televisions, sources close to the matter said, but may already be running to catch up with South Korean rivals in a technology widely seen replacing current LCD TVs. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN – Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) – RTR322QQ

By Ritsuko Ando and Reiji Murai

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s once-mighty electronics makers have lost billions of dollars from TVs but Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp won’t quit, saying retreating from the world’s living rooms would close the door to more promising businesses.

Consumer electronics account for a shrinking portion of income after restructuring focused Sony on gaming and image sensors and Panasonic on electric car batteries. But TVs remain among their best-known products.

Staying in the TV market – particularly at the premium end – keeps the pair relevant and ensures their brands and quality are at the forefront when consumers shop for other electronics, they said. Sony, for example, said it saw a strong correlation between sales trends for its TVs and audio systems.

That makes it worth persevering in a TV market dominated by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and cheaper Asian rivals, with Sony and Panasonic content to hold modest shares by focusing on high-margin, high-definition “4K” models. Continue Reading…

The Fitbit IPO Surge

Reuters —  June 18, 2015 — 4 Comments
Fitbit Chief Executive James Park (R) rings a ceremonial bell marking the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Fitbit Chief Executive James Park (R) rings a ceremonial bell marking the company’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By Neha Dimri

(Reuters) – Just as Kleenex has become a generic term for face tissue and Google for online search, Fitbit is fast becoming a byword for wearable fitness gear. Quite a feat, considering the eight-year-old company’s colorful wristbands and clippable widgets jostle in a crowded market with devices made by the likes of Apple Inc and China’s Xiaomi.

Fitbit is the first pure-play wearable fitness device maker to go public. Fitbit’s IPO – shares shot up 60 percent on their debut on Thursday – underscores a growing craze for wearable technology and gives the company ammunition to defend its turf. Continue Reading…

Nest Updates Some Stuff

Dave Zatz —  June 18, 2015 — 7 Comments

nest-family

Nest gathered the press yesterday to introduce a refreshed Nest Protect, Dropcam Nestcam, and mobile app. While it’s clear the Google subsidiary is starting to pull an ecosystem together as they refine their offerings, the pace isn’t exactly breathtaking and I’m not motivated to further open my wallet. In fact, given ecobee’s incoming support for Apple HomeKit and remote sensors, I might finally make good on promises to unload my Nest thermostat. You?

More thoughts on the announcements, in reverse chronological order… because Twitter: Continue Reading…

new-paperwhite

Beyond its premium construction and physical page turn nubs, the Kindle Voyage’s prime selling point has been its higher resolution display. Well, today, the dynamics have shifted … as Amazon has just introduced an “All-New” Kindle Paperwhite that features a 300ppi e-Ink screen, while retaining its $119 price point — $80 cheaper than Voyage. Along with the new Paperwhite, Amazon is also taking this opportunity to more formally introduce their new font and layout engine.

As for me, I got my pre-order in. Once I’m done checking out the upgraded Paperwhite when it releases June 30th, I’ll pass it on to Mom. All that’s really left for the Kindle line is waterproofing… and, until then, I’ll be sticking with Ziploc.